Democracy and human rights

Today, we see a backlash against democracy and human rights in many parts of the world. Authoritarian regimes try to silence civil society - and people defending their rights are attacked and threatened. Forum Syd's work aims at defending and strengthening civil society to promote democracy and human rights.
Peace demonstration Bogota 2013. Photo: Rodrigo Arce
Peace demonstration Bogota 2013. Photo: Rodrigo Arce

Democracy and respect for human rights are crucial for sustainable development and have been strengthened in many parts of the world in recent decades. Today, however, a global backlash is seen where human rights are violated and democracy is threatened. In many countries, we see how anti-democratic forces are expanding and how internationally binding conventions are questioned.

Civil society is one of the most crucial actors to bring change in society, and is therefore also perceived as a threat by authoritarian regimes: democratic space is shrinking, and human rights and civic freedoms are increasingly restricted. Governments, but also other actors such as militias, companies and organised criminal groups, use a variety of methods to silence and suppress civil society groups that defend their rights. This is done through repressive legislations, restrictions on receiving foreign funding, false prosecutions and smear campaigns as well as threats, violence and murder.

Forum Syd works to protect democracy and human rights. We work to ensure that vulnerable people who defend democracy and their rights will be able to make their voices heard. Forum Syd also works to ensure that Swedish companies respect human rights in all their operations. Forum Syd is also advocating for Swedish development cooperation to strengthen civil society and to counteract the shrinking democratic civic space through concrete measures.